Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount Window Blinds and Shades

Knowing the difference between inside and outside mount will help you make the best choice for windows.

Living room windows feature inside mount roller shades.</p alt=

Custom window treatments can be complicated and one question that prospective buyers will to answer from the very beginning is if they want inside or outside mount window coverings. If you have never heard these terms you are not alone. Most people have never considered where they will mount their window coverings until they start shopping for window treatments. Both mounting options are popular and both have their advantages. However, if you measure for one type of mount and then mount differently you will not have the proper fit. Read on to learn all about these two mount types and learn all that you need to know about inside mount vs. outside mount.

Simply put inside mount window coverings are mounted inside the window frame and outside mount window treatments are mounted outside of the inner frame, often covering the window trim or molding.

Side-by-side images of an inside mount window and an outside mount window.

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Inside Mount Window Blinds and Shades

Inside mount window blinds and shades fit snugly within the frame, offering a clean and streamlined look. As a retailer, we've noticed that inside mount shades are a preferred choice for homeowners seeking a contemporary and polished look. If your windows have enough depth this is an option for you.

Advantages of inside mount window shades:

If you have enough depth in your window frame to do an inside mount you will benefit from a sleek look of having the window treatments tucked into the window frame for a truly custom look that is flush with the wall. This is a great option for small rooms and modern decor. Inside mount doesn't cover up your window frame, making this the optimal choice for rooms with attractive window frames and other unique architectural details.

A window features inside mount roller shades.

Inside mount blinds and shades are perfect for pairing with curtains and drapery for an elegant layered look. Layer sheer curtains with a light-filtering or blackout shade for maximum functionality. Layer room-darkening window shades with room-darkening or blackout drapes for maximum insulation and control of incoming light and noise.

A modern bedroom with rich blue velvet custom curtains complementing blackout cellular shades on same windows

When to avoid inside mount window shades:

Inside mount blinds and shades require sufficient window depth for proper installation and different types of window treatments have different minimum depth requirements. For example if you have less than ½” depth in your window frame and you want inside mount window treatments you will be limited in your options. Cellular or Honeycomb window shades can be mounted with as little as 1/4" of depth whereas wood blinds require 5/8” depth to be mounted inside your frame and an additional 2 1/8” to be mounted flush with your window frames.

A blackout cellular shade covers the window in the exquisite bedroom.

There are certain types of window treatments that we strongly recommend be mounted outside of your window or door frame, specifically drapery, vertical blinds, and panel tracks. However, if you are interested in our popular and modern cellular shades, wood blinds, faux wood blinds, aluminum blinds, woven wood shades, roller shades, solar shades, Cascade sheer shades, Serenity® sheer shades or roman shades and you can meet the minimum depth requirement for mounting inside the window frame, then inside mount is a great option for beautiful, custom-fitted window treatments.

A bedroom features two windows with drapes with a classic outside mount.</p alt=

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Outside Mount Window Shades

Outside mount window shades are mounted on the window frame, the wall, or even the ceiling and often cover the entire window frame as well as the window. Because they are mounted on the wall, or the part of the window frame that lays flat on the wall, outside mount blinds and shades can cover multiple windows at once.

Wood blinds with a valance are outside mounted on a window in a small home office.

Advantages of outside mount window shades:

Outside mount shades are popular because they are compatible with window frames of any depth because when mounting on the frame, ceiling, or wall the depth of the window frame is irrelevant. Outside mount blinds and shades will make a small window appear larger, since the shade will be larger. They will also conceal imperfections in your window frame or window frames in the same room that differ in appearance. Outside mount blinds and shades are also popular options for blackout and room darkening shades and blinds, since covering the entire window will reduce light gaps.

Valances and outside mount window shades:

A window valance is like a cap at the top of your blinds and shades. Some people think that a valance makes a window treatment look finished, while others prefer the clean and modern look of no valance. If you like the look of a valance, outside mount shades and blinds may be a better option for you than inside mount.

A large blue fabric cordless blackout roller shades spans the width of three standard windows in a playful kid's room.

Keep in mind that some window treatments, specifically newer styles like our Cascade sheer shades, Serenity® sheer shades, and most modern, cordless roller shades are housed in a cassette when the are rolled up in the fully open position. If you have the proper depth in your window frame this attached cassette, that strongly resembles a valance, can be mounted inside your window frame. However, most of these cassettes are a minimum of 3" deep, a depth that many windows do not have. Of course if you have a depth of 2" you can mount a 3" wide cassette and allow it to protrude 1" out of your window frame.

Close up of a Cascade valance.

An inside mount Cascade valance extends past the frame.

When to avoid outside mount window shades:

Outside mount shades are so versatile that it is hard to find any reason to avoid them. The main reason that people choose inside mount over outside mount is because they prefer the clean and flush look of blinds and shades mounted inside their window frame. If you do not have sufficient window frame depth for an inside mount you will have no choice but to mount outside of your window frame on the outside trim of the frame itself, on the wall above the top of your window frame, or on the ceiling, in cases where windows extend all the way up to the ceiling. We suggest avoiding an outside mount for your blinds or shades when furniture will be pushed up against the same wall that features that window. If you have a sofa pushed against a window you will not want the sofa to touch your window treatment, which would cause unnecessary wear and tear on your blinds or shades.

Light grey fabric vertical blinds cover a large window in a spacious modern bedroom

Outside mount fabric vertical blinds

There may be some situations where you aren’t sure if an outside mount is better than an inside mount. At Blinds To Go we have a team of experts who have dealt with many tricky windows or windows in tricky spots, who can also help you with the pros and cons of different mount types on a window by window basis. Take for example the bay window pictured below, the window frames themselves are too shallow to house mounting hardware but window treatments could be mounted outside of the individual window frames and still inside the larger frame of the entire bay window. If the customer had wanted one large shade to cover the entire large bay window frame that would have been an option as well, overall that would have cost less but it would have made the room seem smaller.

A bay window with roman shades features shades that are mounted outside the three individual windows but inside the main larger window frame.

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As a custom window treatment retailer, we understand that choosing between inside mount and outside mount window shades can seem confusing at first. By considering the style, functionality, and characteristics of your windows, you can make an informed decision. If you're still unsure, our expert team is always ready to assist you in finding the perfect window treatment solution that complements your home's unique style and meets your specific needs. Whether you opt for the sleek sophistication of inside mount shades or the versatility of outside mount shades, investing in quality window treatments will undoubtedly elevate your living space and transform the way you experience natural light and privacy within your home. Happy decorating!

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